Politics aside, much can be said for and against purists of any kind. Tradition and roots are substantial holdings and carry the significance of the world, while progression and risk-taking are necessities of the

inevitable. Either way you look at it, both perspectives have their place, Fort Wayne’s hip-hop constituents DJ Polaris and Brainstorm are pure, very pure. Skip directly to track three (and 16) for proof. Now a moment for some politics:

Three years ago I met DJ Polaris and Brainstorm while working at a music store. I was hungry for energy; they were thirsty for ears. Our brief meeting resulted in my purchasing their original EP and now – finally,

better late than never – this review. Over time Brainstorm and I have often discussed hip-hop, rock, culture and so on. While our tastes and opinions have not typically been in sync, it’d be a stretch to conclude that our principles aren’t. These are

the roundabout politics of a review … now, finally, Andromeda’s long awaited debut album,

The Need. On The Need, Andromeda sound fed up. Polaris and Brainstorm are students of hip-hop, entirely prepared to represent the culture they love with all they have;

The Need is their documentation.

“Hear Me Out Now” sees Brainstorm berating recent style changes by successful artists Q-Tip and Andre 3000, at the same time implying that commercial artists are in the wrong for not being creative or inventive. While

both Q-Tip and Andre have surely moved beyond their roots, most listeners may not agree that the two momentous artists have left their culture behind. Andromeda are so certain of it’s roots that they often question otherwise critically acclaimed artists


The Need. It’s safe to say that Andromeda have no problem going against the grain to stand up for their belief in the roots of their art. “Purists” works as a thesis statement on the group’s direction, with Brainstorm questioning any and everything, ending with

the line, “the intense epiphany of hip-hop purists.”

Brainstorms’ whimsical rhymes find a needed balance in the hard edge vocals rendered by DJ Polaris.

The Need is unequivocally a group effort, with both artists collaborating equally throughout the album. Where Brainstorm often seems to be helming the rhymes, Polaris seems more than at home with his clean production skills. Those who had the opportunity to

hear the group’s inaugural EP will quickly notice the refined sound quality and newfound mixing effectiveness.

Full of crisp drums, catchy loops and resourceful layers,

The Need is a professionally produced album with very few production missteps. Where it’s clear through the variance of beats and thought-provoking soundbites that Andromeda worked long and hard on their songs, the abundance of vocal echoes and incessant use

of (vocal) samples for hooks feel more like a crutch than part of the groups sound. Occasionally stepping outside of their cultural-critic stance, Brainstorm and Polaris focus on themes of spirituality, race, rape, artistry, politics and, oftentimes,

their hometown of Fort Wayne. Musical reference points range from early 90s Native Tongues to late 80s groundwork, all the way up to the Rawkus-era underground scene.

I won’t deny that reviewing an album drenched in quixotic tradition has been a challenge for me as a reviewer with disparate artistic values. And while Andromeda’s politics regarding music may not match up with my

own, I am able to value their dedication to the mission behind their art, as well as their widespread energy to create.

The Need is a pure labor of love that will unquestionably live up to all of Andromeda’s fans’ expectations.

To hear one of Fort Wayne’s most renowned hip-hop albums to date, head over to Wooden Nickel, Convolution Records or Borders and pick up

The Need. Check out www.fortwaynehiphop.com while you’re at it.